There is a very real anxiety that surrounds birth...and time. "How long was your labour?" "When will I have this baby?" "How long did that part take?" "If your water breaks, and you haven't had the baby in 24 hours, well..."
And then, someone puts a big round clock right smack in your line of sight in the hospital room.
When I initially ask clients what they wish for, the most common answer is, "A fast birth."
However, after we've been working together for a number of months, most clients realize that each labour takes as long as it needs - no more, no less. Each woman's task in labour is to accept its flow, allowing it to unfold as it should. Time and space start to recede, endorphins increase, tension starts to release, and then labour works well.
To put an arbitrary time limit on any normal pregnancy or labour harms its natural rhythm. Birth is a psychosexual process. And, just like lovemaking ("Are you two done yet??"), it withers when it is pressured by time.
Ultimately, once you understand the nature of birth and its relationship with time, you settle into a pace that fits you and your baby on this particular day. It may be fast. It may be slow.
So cover your eyes and plug your ears, and you won't be rushed or ruled by the clock.